By Kaleb Helms
Album: Quiet Signs
Artist: Jessica Pratt
Release date: February 8, 2019
Jessica Pratt is a singer-songwriter from San Francisco, California who got her start in San Francisco with her self titled album Jessica Pratt, produced by Birth Records. Pratt recently released her third studio album Quiet Signs on Feb. 8, 2019 via Mexican Summer Records. Pratt’s debut album Jessica Pratt gained her a meager following before moving to Los Angeles where she went on to record On Your Own Love Again, an LP recorded in her bedroom and released by Drag City which widened her fanbase across the world.
Pratt’s unique folk style sets her music apart by providing an atmospheric sound as well as lyrics that leave the listener with thoughts of love and heartbreak. The soft guitar playing accompanied by Pratt’s voice layered with reverb gives her an angelic tone that is calming and comforting to listen to. While this album touches on the concepts of love and loss I found myself losing focus on the lyrics and appreciating the sound as a whole.
Pratt has improved in not only audio quality but also in the clarity of her singing. With her first album Pratt struggled in both recording quality as well as vocal clarity. Quiet Signs is a nice transition from her past albums and shows promise for more in the future. Pratt’s ’70s folk style is a beautiful revival of a genre rarely seen in popular culture, but shows that many individuals appreciate the techniques of the past.
The album begins with “Opening Night” which consists of a trance like piano progression that sets the rhythm for the second track, “As The World Turns.” “Opening Night” to me while beautiful, makes the second track repetitive as the same rhythm is used for both songs. The progression is beautiful and the transition between the two songs provides and interesting flow to the album. “Opening Night” could have been combined with “As The World Turns” to just extend the length of the song rather than having two songs with the same rhythm.
This album is relatively short at just under 26 minutes spread out over nine tracks, which leaves the listener interested but hungry for more. Songs like “Poly Blue” show Pratt’s lyrical as well as musical ability as she creates a sound that makes the listener feel in a daze as she discusses the “dangers that lie across a lover’s hand.” “Poly Blue” has a beautiful repetitive guitar riff accompanied by Pratt’s unique voice singing “la-di-da-da-la-la-la-la-la-la-la” that sparks feelings of serenity and bliss.
Pratt’s overall sound provides a beautiful and clear listening experience that causes the listener to feel as if they are in a trance set upon them by a guitar playing siren. Pratt’s unique voice accompanies her use of soft strumming very well and provides a sophisticated yet still folk like experience to the album.
This album was a weird transition for me as I usually do not encounter folk in my normal listening, and it pleasantly surprised me in how well the songs are written and recorded. While many of Pratt’s songs are simplistic in technique, they show a beautiful understanding of a style of the past and push for it’s resurgence. Pratt’s use of finger-style guitar throughout the album demonstrates her musical ability and creates a beautiful melody for the song “Silent Song.” Jessica Pratt shows promise and Quiet Signs is a symbol to her improvement from her first two studio albums and the small issues they individually had. I am excited to see more from her in the next coming future!
Listen to Quiet Signs here.
Featured Image by Saamuel Richard